Cold weather construction projects come with winter-specific complications. Cold can throw a number of kinks in your productivity and affect the safety of your workers.
In order to keep your project functioning smoothly, it is vital that you properly heat your construction site. For more information about options we have available, visit our temporary heaters page.
Cold Weather Weakens Concrete as it Sets
As concrete dries, a chemical reaction changes the structure from liquid to solid. The concrete’s temperature strongly impacts how quickly that transformation occurs. To yield a durable finish, concrete needs to dry as quickly as possible, so it needs to be protected from colder temperatures that can slow drying time.
It’s important to protect your concrete from freezing temperatures. If it freezes before drying, concrete’s structure is damaged, reducing the durability beyond repair. Since water expands as it freezes, the concrete needs to develop enough strength to resist the pressure.
Finishing Drywall in the Cold
If you try to use spackle or joint compound on drywall in temperatures below 60°F, you will find that it becomes brittle and doesn’t adhere to the wall properly. You’ll also run into trouble when it comes time to paint the wall. Because cold temperatures slow evaporation, the colder the environment, the longer paint takes to dry. Once you factor in the drying times between coats, this can really add to your total project time and take away from your productivity.
You also have to consider how cold changes the chemical structure of your paint. As paint gets too cold, it will become thick and nearly impossible to spread.
Cold Conditions Can Cause Health Problems
According to OSHA, in cold weather, construction workers are commonly subject to health conditions like frostbite and hypothermia. These conditions occur when blood leaves extremities to protect internal organs and when the body loses heat faster than it can replace it. The risk factor goes up in colder weather and is exacerbated by damp conditions.
Taking Action Against the Cold
Once you consider the effects the cold has on your equipment, productivity, and worker safety, properly heating your construction site should become and obvious priority.
For information on how to keep your site safely heated, check out this older post.